Despite my commitment to authenticity, I do have a plastic smile I can pull out of my pocket and slap across my face.
Sometimes I just don’t want to have to have to answer the question, “How are you?” with more than a nod and a wave.
I tell myself that it demonstrates maturity and self-control.
And I actually think that’s OK. I don’t always need to spill my guts to every unsuspecting stranger I meet.
But if I allow it to become a habit or use it as camouflage to keep my distance from my fellow man, it is unhelpful. It gives the false impression that life is mostly smooth sailing, when that’s just not true so much of the time.
And it builds a wall between me and others.
Because if the people I meet think that I have it all together all the time, they are going to be much less likely to admit that they don’t. And let’s be real, none of us have it all together.
We all have at least one place in our lives that hurts and that needs healing.
Everyone has scars.
Losing a child is teaching me many things. One of the things I am learning is that I am not self-sufficient. I am not capable of meeting my own needs or bearing my burdens alone. I need companionship in this journey.
When I walk around with my mask on, I isolate myself from the very people that might help me heal.
It is humbling and sometimes frightening, to let others SEE my brokenness.
I might be inviting judgment and condemnation. But I am also welcoming love and companionship. I am opening my heart to the gift of friendship.
When I refuse to pretend, I give permission for others to take off their masks too.
Being real creates space for authentic healing.
It unlocks doors to sharing truth.
Jesus came as God in the flesh so that He could experience our trials, our temptations, our joys and our sorrows. He came to KNOW.
But He also came to make the Father KNOWN.
And He has left His followers to continue making the Father known in the world.
If I want to minister to the painful places in the lives of others, I have to let them see the painful places in my own. I have to drop the mask and reveal my face. When I do, I invite them to let me help carry their load and to let them help me carry mine.
Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ.